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Steam must be running to play this game

If you don't know how to fix “Steam must be running to play this game” error while launching a game, don't worry. This post from MiniTool Software has collected some effective solutions for you. If you encounter this error, check out this post now.

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When you try to open a game on your computer, it may prompt up the following error message:

Steam must be running to play this game (steamapi_init() failed).

Well, you are not the only one who encounters this error. Recently, many users reported that came across “Steam must be running to play this game” error message on their PC. How to fix it?

After analyzing several posts on how to fix the “Steam must be running to play this game” error, I have summarized some effective solutions. You can try the following solutions one by one.

Solution 1. Install the Steam Client on Your PC

If you always play games on PC, it is important for you to install the Steam client on your computer. Nowadays, many PC games will require you to have Steam installed on your PC.

If you haven’t installed the Steam client, you can follow the steps below to install it. If you have already installed Steam on your computer, you can try the next method directly.

Step 1. Visit Steam client download page and click the Install Steam Now button to download Steam’s installation executable.

Step 2. Run the executable file and follow the on-screen prompts to finish the Steam client installation on your PC.

Step 3. When the installation is finished, restart your computer. After restarting, run the game that you encounter “Steam must be running to play this game” again.

If this fixes the error, you can play the game now. However, if this method doesn't work, try the next solutions.

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Solution 2. Update the Steam Client to the Latest Version

Some users reported that after updating Steam to the latest version, they removed the “Steam must be running to play this game (steamapi_init() failed)” error message.

Step 1. Launch the Steam client and input your passwords to log in.

Step 2. Click the Steam button on the top menu bar and then select Check for Steam Clients Updates from the drop-down menu.

Check for Steam Client Updates.

Step 3. If there is a new version available, you can follow the on-screen instructions to install the latest version on your PC.

When the update is finished, restart your computer and check if Steam must be running to play this game error still appears on your computer.

Solution 3. Log out Your Steam Account and Log Back In

According to some users’ feedback, after logging out and logging back in the Steam account, and then launch the game in Steam client, they will not “get the Steam must be running to play this game (steamapi_init() failed)”. Many users report that this is helpful. So you can have a try.

Step 1. Open Steam, click the drop-down menu near your account profile on the top-right corner of the window. Then, select Log out of account from the drop-down menu.

Step 2. Exit Steam completely. You can end all Steam related processes in Task Manager.

Step 3. Right click on the Steam shortcut on the desktop and choose Run as administrator. Then, log back in with your user account.

Step 4. Re-launch the problematic game from the Steam. After that, check if the “Steam must be running to play this game” error message disappears.

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Solution 4. Verify Integrity of the Game Files

If the game that you try to open is incorrectly updated via the Steam client or the game’s folder is missing some files, you may get the “Steam must be running to play this game” error when launching it. At this time, you may wonder: is there any way to make it up?

Well, in this situation, you can verify the integrity of the games file with Steam client. If it finds any inconsistencies, Steam will re-download the missing components for you.

Here are detailed steps to verify integrity of the game files with Steam client.

Step 1. Launch the Steam client and click on Library.

Step 2. Right-click on the game that prompts you the “Steam must be running to play this game” error message, then choose Properties.

Step 3. Then switch to the Local Files tab and click on Verify Integrity of Game Files. Then the program will start verifying the integrity of the game files.

Verify Integrity of Game Files

When the verifying process is finished, restart the Steam client and check if this resolves the “Steam must be running to play this game” error message.

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